I first thought to post this in the frugality forum, but alas, it might be a better fit here.
I've gone off coffee, but I love how this guy explains his process for using mason jars for his cold brew instead of buying a plastic set up, how he lists pros and cons, and then the commenter at the bottom has even more good tips.
Hi Travis, is your Toddy made out of plastic? I suppose with a cold process you're not as likely to have gick leach out as in regular, drip coffee makers that are partially plastic. I liked the idea of the glass mason jars, though I think there was still a paper coffee filter used.
If I do make coffee, for myself or a guest, I use a French press - all glass, stainless steel and no paper (or cloth) filter needed. Right now, that seems less mess and waste than the cold brew method.
Hm, I wonder....could a French press be re-purposed as a cold brew container? Then press to strain?
Interesting. Since my main form of nourishment is coffee this thread caught my eye. I can see the benefit for iced coffee in that I am not using energy to heat the water. Not sure about hot coffee though - still have to heat it up.
The top part of the Toddy is plastic and I don't think stuff does leach out as much (maybe not at all) when using cold or tepid water. It would be better if they had a glass option. The carafe that the coffee drains into is glass. Their filter is some kinda felt material and I don't know the toxicity of what it's made from but I used mine (they come with two) for over a year. When it seemed like it was getting funky, I soaked it in vinegar for a while and rinsed it well.
French press is my favorite method of brewing hot coffee (loose tea too!). We have a $10,000 espresso machine at work and I still prefer my single serving french press at home.
There's a guy who works at a bike shop on my route who told me that he only makes our Yeti as a cold brew in his french press. He asked me about the Toddy thing and ended up being not interested in it at all. I guess the french press is sufficient for smaller quantities of cold brew.
The main benefit of the Toddy is the larger quantity of cold brew you get and the felt filter that will prevent any grit or fines from remaining in the final product. Is it worth buying one for forty bucks and risking the toxicity? I don't know.
We have many big (eight cup) french presses at work. I'll borrow one next week and try a cold brew in it and see how it compares.
@ South Carolina: Mine too. In the winter (Minnesota) I still need hot coffee on the weekends at home. During the week, I need that cold brewed cafe con leche just to get me to want to bike to work. Cold brew (uncut) seems, to me, like more of a drug. Hot coffee is for relaxing.
I wouldn't recommend heating up cold brew. It tastes like crap.
I tried this yesterday, making it in a mason jar and letting the brew sit overnight. I strained it by just pouring it through one of those gold filters, which is gold-plated mesh and plastic, that I got for making nut milks. It filtered pretty good without any hassle. At the top was the kind of foam I have seen in very fine ground boiled coffee, which I used to make years ago. It did taste different, but I found to my surprise that I prefer the more acidic hot brew. Go figure. I was hoping I could get away from adding dairy to my coffee. Nope. A fun experiment, though.
I tried using a french press to make some cold brew and it turned out just fine. A bit more coffee sediment in the final product, making it less "clean" than the toddy is able to. But how clean is it for them to manufacture all those felt filters.
I drink a lot of cold brew, so I didn't like the small quantity I ended up with, using the french press.
I think if the plastic part of my toddy became unusable, I'd come up with a different thing that had less toxic components and that could make the quantity I like. Maybe those giant mason jars.